Handling hair loss is hard.
As women I think we often take it as just another part of life that we will have struggles at some point in our life.
Relationship stress, parenting stress, family and work stress ..... Things can get stressy for us quite often. We deal with it and move on because we’re resilient like that.
One thing we never expect to happen to us is for our hair to start falling out in clumps or for our hair to start thing to the point that we barely even recognise the person staring back at us in the mirror.
Hair loss can make you feel like a stranger to yourself and often feels like there has been a large part of your identity lost along with the fallen hair. Losing our hair will (naturally) make our anxiety spike to enormous heights and make us question what the hell is wrong with us!
The first piece of advice I can give you from my 24 years of living as a female with alopecia universalis is that you need to cut yourself a little slack. I know you will have had PLENTY of well meaning folks throwing you comments such as "It could be worse" and "at least you've got your health" but I mean, come on! You are losing your freaking hair and that is a massive thing for a women to go through!
Don't feel ungrateful or bad for screaming, crying or crumbling into a heap on the floor. Just one thing through. Once you're done, remember to get back up.
When I lost my hair I hid myself away for almost 10 years. That's a decade of my life that I am never going to get the chance to live again. I honestly never thought I would come to terms with and accept (never mind embrace!) having alopecia and wearing wigs.
It's so easy to say "I'll go out tomorrow" or "I'll call my friend tomorrow" but the days can easily turn in to weeks, the weeks in to months and the months in to ...... OK, so I'm guessing you totally know where I'm going with this right?
Time passes so quickly and we never get that time back. Always be mindful of this and be sure to catch those thoughts that tell you to put things off. You are braver and stronger than you think.
One of the traits about myself that I was most perplexed about for most of my life was that I like routines in my day and I get really stressed when those routines go off track.
Sometimes routines that make us feel less stressed and more "safe" in life actually start as habits. More than habits, they arise from us avoiding something that makes our anxiety spike.
I fell in to a really bad habit during my early twenties that even to this day is something I need to keep a very close eye on. I developed a fear of the school run.
Taking to the school mums terrified me (I'm not good at small talk!) and I could feel an anxiety attack building every time I had to go and pick my son up from nursery or school. At first I solved the problem by asking my mum to collect him. A few years later I told my husband that he needed to do the school run (by this time we had two children).
What I initially thought of as me "solving a problem" became years worth of time that saw me missing out on conversations with my kids teachers, missing parents evening and missing school plays and trips.
I hadn't solved a problem I had created a bigger problem by avoiding doing the school run!
Please don't make the same mistakes that I did and miss out on precious times you can never get back out of fear.
I now take things slowly. I prepare myself mentally and I have actually grown in to being my kids biggest advocate.
My last piece of advice is, when you feel ready, find an alternative hair salon (like mine) where you can have a free one-to-one consultation and a good chat with someone who 1) knows what it's like to lose their hair and 2) has knowledge in wigs and toppers.
You should never feel under any obligation to purchase anything. Going along to a consultation to try things on and ask lots of questions should always be OK and if you find something that makes you feel amazing when you put it on embrace it.